An Open Letter to Internet Stupidity

December 2, 2014

Recently I read an astounding thread on Facebook.  It all started with someone offering a range and endurance course…for women.  Predictably, the comment section got quite ugly.  The person offering the course wrote some of the worst comments, which only generated more backlash.  And that is the shame of it all.

First, let’s make this very clear.  One’s gender is not an advantage in playing a brass instrument.  There is no argument here.  There is no discussion needed.  If someone tells you the sun is cold, you wouldn’t take them seriously.  So let’s stop engaging in non-arguments.  You can’t argue with stupid.

If you read my post “You’re Not Always Entitled to Your Opinion” you know that I want to make online communities more representative of the real world.  The person offering the course seems to exist solely on the internet.  He advertises himself as a professional trumpet player and teacher.  So let’s ask a reasonable question:

Is he a professional player?

There are lots of ways we could define professional, but I’ll choose something simple with which I believe we can all agree:

To be a professional, one must be employed in that profession.

As musicians often like to compare themselves to athletes, imagine trying to call yourself a professional basketball player because you can dunk, but have never held a position on any professional team.  No one would consider you a professional basketball player.

The person who is advertising his course believes, “Playing the written high note solo is the most difficult endeavor on any brass instrument.”  He has consistently referenced Maynard Ferguson and Bill Chase-two spectacular trumpet players who spent a lot of time playing in the upper register.  They both led their own bands, recording and touring successfully.  Our alleged professional also leads his own band, in which he plays a lot of high notes, although I don’t know how much touring they’ve done, and, to my knowledge they have yet to release a commercial recording.  But that’s where the very scarce similarities end.  Before leading his own band, Maynard played with both Charlie Barnet’s and Stan Kenton’s bands.  Before going out on his own, Bill played lead for both Maynard and Woody Herman.  In other words, they were established professionals.  The only professional experience I’ve seen this person espouse is playing summers at Kings Island.  In the early 90’s.  I’ve been to his website to see if there are any professional credentials listed, and there are none.

With the evidence we have, it is clear that we cannot consider him a professional.  And that brings me to this:

Why is anyone engaging in a discussion with a rude amateur about anything?

This is the worst part of the internet.  Because he has put up a website, and has been loud enough for long enough, people treat him as if he actually has something to say.  And by engaging him, you make him more empowered.  Imagine dealing with a 3-year-old that keeps asking for a cookie.  After you’ve said no the child asks again and again…and again.  So you relent and give the kid a cookie.  What have you taught the child?  That badgering works.

So here’s my advice:  Stop engaging.  Let him write and say whatever he likes.  He holds no place in the trumpet world.  There is no good that comes from communicating with him.

Instead, let’s focus on the great playing and teaching that is going on all over the place.  I always enjoy seeing who’s doing what and poking fun at my trumpet playing colleagues online.  It’s the best part of the internet.



  1. The trumpet player to which you are referring has been a total source of frustration for legitimate professional trumpet players for over 20 years. I guess that does make him successful at one thing – for over 20 years he has grandly succeeded at being annoying!


  2. While I agree 100% I’m not quite sure about not mentioning the person’s name! To the folks who don’t know who you speak of and I do – for all they know he’s a fabrication… How bout a link to the post in question? I am from the school if I give or convey an opinion of someone publicly, there’s no doubt who I’m talking about!

    • Search “Kurt Thompson” on Facebook.

  3. Another beautifully stated post, Professor Tartell. See ya @ IJC?

    • Thanks Eric. If they’ve already hired, then I think I’m rotated out of IJC this year. I hope to see you soon.

  4. Thank you for this. I agree that there is no reason to give the persons name. Let’s not give him/her any more credibility. I would hope that this kind of thought we be exercised throughout the internet. By the way, good definition of professional.

  5. I started reading this because I am a female trumpet player, and mostly enjoy playing lead. But I finished reading this smiling because you’re exactly right. That reasoning is mostly why I’ve turned into a facebook watcher rather than participator. Anytime I’ve let myself get caught up in some heated topic, people attack like piranhas. I’ve long since decided to ignore the stupid people, whatever they have to say.

    • Absolutely!

  6. I learn long time ago actually to ignore him…I may watch some of his videos but dismiss them. No worth my time reading nonsense about how to play high notes.

  7. Harumph! Well said as usual. I will never be able to compare myself to a professional basketball player. Perhaps a race horse jockey would be a more appropriate analogy. I sure miss our days playing together in Chicago.

    • Thanks Kirk. I miss our playing…and the pizza, in Chicago too.

  8. I was secretly hoping very strongly that you would take the time to address this. Thanks for this valuable insight.

  9. Well said Joey. I had never heard of this dude before a couple of days ago and I think his 15 minutes of fame has ended.

  10. I’m another vote for not naming the party referenced or linking to the website. Any professional should be capable of communicating like a human, and performers and teachers in particular should present the best of themselves and work to bring out the best in others. If we just wanted loud, high noises we’d all own air raid sirens.

  11. Excellent.

  12. He is not worth receiving any more attention then he has already received. One if the nicest things about the Internet is the sense of support and community it can offer in the trumpet, jazz, and music worlds.

  13. That thread got ugly fast. I managed to print it before he deleted most of it. 12 pages of gold

    • Wow…a little butthurt there Kurt? I’d rather hear Joey frack a little here and there than all of the videos of you sounding like crap…nice try on Tenderly…not. You suck and so do all the videos you’ve made.

  14. Hey Joey-Usually wannabes never are and this cro magnon w/his thug tactics NEVER will be! Let’s not waste emotions on this guy. If he ever gets a job, I am sure he will be saying ‘Who had the pepperoni?’

    • Malcolm,

      I agree. There were a several vicious personal attacks that were over the line. I’m hopeful that we, as a community, will do better.



  15. Technically, you addressed us, your audience rather than the source of the nonsense. Sadly, ignoring people who act like this DOES NOT make them go away. A pacifist attitude usually encourages such behavior. Providing no feedback is really the same as accepting the poor behavior, thus strengthening it. Turning a blind eye is possibly the greatest reason people treat each other poorly within our society and on the internet. When will we stand up against nonsense and have reason and logic heard over the selfish clatter?

    • I agree completely .. As a professional woman brass player this is the equivalent of any other deeply offensive behaviour that does need and deserve a reaction . Such a strong negative response insured he will be unlikely to teach or play professionally for a long time . Young students especially girls may take such a post seriously without the rational and necessary response. It’s not worth the risk for me – so yes I am happy I posted and would do it again if someone is so blatantly offensive . Silence speaks , and I would rather the brass community be aware and know he is a negative force to exclude .

      • Yes, I did address us, the entire online community, and that was completely on purpose. I’m not advocating a do-nothing approach at all. If I were, I wouldn’t have written anything at all. The online community is now more aware than ever of exactly what is going on. I’m addressing the reasonable people that can, and hopefully will, listen, in this case because all communication with the source has only made things worse.

      • I do respect your view Joey and I don’t entirely disagree. But from my experience dealing with confrontational people, they cannot be ignored. This is especially true within the internet as some people will reinvent their online personalities multiple times to continue and carry out their original intent. You have personally stood up to him and I thank you for putting your name on the line. I’m only encouraging others that we don’t back down by turning a blind eye to the problem.

        These are your words from the above blog entry, “So here’s my advice: Stop engaging. Let him write and say whatever he likes.”

      • Jason,
        I understand what you’re saying. Direct contact with this person has only resulted in more, and worse, attacks. What I mean by “Let him write and say whatever he likes” is that we cannot control him. We can control who listens. And that should be no one. Now that it’s clear who he is, we make sure everyone is aware, and that he is not welcome. Anywhere.
        Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
        See you soon,

  16. I’ve gotten emails from Brazil, Japan, England and Russia asking who this idiot, Kurt Thompson, is. Keep up the good work folks. He’s despised on multiple continents.

    • I wouldn’t want to be associated with this guy. I feel bad for any of his former teachers or schools (if he ever had formal training). Makes me wonder WHY anyone would end up like this guy? Just sad. It does tell me who I DON’T want to be when I grow up..

  17. well said, Joey!!!

  18. Well said, but the down side of not mentioning his name is that young, impressionable, beginning trumpet students won’t be made aware of what a dangerous person/’player’/’teacher’ he is. Hence, they may still be tempted to buy his books, take online lessons, and could end up being influenced by him, some of which may be undoable . I enjoy your blogs. Keep up the good work!

  19. FYI: Kurt Thompson is a nut case. I played a gig with him over 5 yrs ago. After the gig (which was a “Maynard Fergeson” tribute big band that he led) he sent an email to the whole band stating how we sucked and played like middle schoolers. He actually picked out certain players and insulted them. This summer he sent me a video of the gig.. I never responded to him, then in Sept. he sends me this letter via FB. The reason I am putting this out here is I feel it should be known to all that he is abusive and should not be teaching children or women, or ANYONE! Below is what he wrote to me:

    Kurt Trumpet Thompson

    lol….YOU really are a cunt and a true lesbian….right? a true lesbian cannot get a man or at least cannot keep A man. OMG….you can’t play for fuck…watch the vid of you playing in my band…you are like the bleach blonde dyed step child that played howi sounded in 8th grade.
    Kurt Trumpet Thompson
    9/12, 3:17am
    Kurt Trumpet Thompson

    How is playing trumpet and making money going for you? lol….better suck some more pussy, right whore? So I made an effort, for a lesbian cunt that I thought just might appreciate it….a bitch and an ugly whore that could NEVER get any guys so she turned lesbian. Remember back in highschool when you were bullied, when made fun of, the guys all new you were fucked up….they didn’t even want a blow job from you. HOW DID YOU GET BACK? you became queer and tried to go after girls LMFAO , but howz that working out? Even the bitches don’t want you…you still haven’t figure out how to eat pussy whore…you short, ugly, untalented, i meand come on…even bisexual bitches want a cute curvy girl…which YOU ARE NOT…so right now i want you to fuck off. I don’t think you are even good enough to snake out my trumpet and get it good and clean for my next performance. tell you what, you can get gigs, but the only way is to lick pussy and even with that., you are nothing to write about…with your dyed, short spike hair and ugly face…have you wondered why you always seem to be looking for someone, something retard?
    Kurt Trumpet Thompson
    9/12, 3:18am
    Kurt Trumpet Thompson

    now, I want you to eat shit and die….die….but one thing: DO NOT EVER CONTACT ME AGAIN…AT ALL WHORE!!!!!

    • I got a private message from him also, on Facebook. I’ve never met him. Only commented on a post and he came after me. Seems like a total crack head.

      mpet Thompson

      Kurt Trumpet Thompson

      aRE YOU FUCKED? You can’t play for shit…i say this over and over when someone thinks they are good. I PLAYED WHAT YOU PLAYED IN HIGHSCHOOL YOU STUPID IDIOT!!!
      I asked for a vid of you playing something TOUGH and you got al butt hurt cause you can’t 
      I am with your lead player of your group: YOU ARE WEAK!
      NO POWER!
      yes, you lay back and don’t fuck up the high note at the end of the song…so says your lead player, right? HE IS FUCKING RIGHT…YOU HAVE NO CHOPS LITTLE GIRL!
      If stepped into your group right now, i would bury you and your lead player both and not even work up a sweat….
      YOU are what’s wrong with women brass players; NO FUCKING CHOPS!
      NOBODY IS BANNED , BUT AN IDIOT LIKE YOU SHOULD BE….you are playing the same ricky ticky bullshit that amateurs play alll day long…..OMG…can you please..fuck off!

      36 minutes ago · Sent from Web

  20. Joey, thank you so much for this post! You put everything eloquently and PROFESSIONALLY! I do believe he has a screw… Or 2… Or 20 loose. I’m a student studying at Rowan U. and I am a high note player, but I am still trying to find my way to absolute clarity. But he is someone I would never think of asking for help, especially when Matt Gallagher I right across the brbridge in Philly. Thank you again for a great post!!

  21. Kurt Thompson is a terrible human being and misogynist

    He sent me an abusive message after I turned him down on an adult dating site. I looked in to him and turns out he’s a bigger crazy than I thought.

      • Could you send me those photos???

    • All I can say is he is a total con-artist and very very mentally ill person, I know this guy personally a few years back and man how glad I am to come across this internet thread about him exposing of a real lunatic he really is. All he’s professional at is scamming people, women at most.

    • He sent me a message on a dating website this morning so I thought I would Google him. OMG I will not be replying!

  22. To get a sense of what his actual abilities are, listen to some examples of Thompson playing something melodic. Clearly his skillset consists of squeaking out high notes under certain circumstances with limited ability to do anything else.

    Here he can be heard doing an amateurish job on the “Dynasty” theme. The Waltons theme is on there as well as others. Dynasty and The Waltons are two where there are clear examples out there of what an actual pro trumpet player sounds like -vs- the shaky mess of unmusical split notes Thompson serves up.

    This is a guy who promotes himself as a trumpet teacher.

  23. I had subscribed to this person on Facebook, but reading one anti-law-enforcement post sealed the deal. He must’ve gotten a ticket, and raved about all officers being losers in school and how he intimidates us because he’s so big and did MMA… I couldn’t unsubscribe fast enough.

    • This guy sexually harassed my GF on Facebook. He is now trying to teach kids in the Houston area. Please do not hire him or let him near kids. He is out of his mind and dangerous.

      • Are you sure he is in the Houston area? Do you have an address?

  24. It was a pleasure to catch you at the Bert Truax workshop this summer (2016) funny thing is I was in that facebook debacle. After I read his original post I messaged him and suggested that his wording in the advert could be considered offensive and he might want to consider rephrasing it. I swear I was that gentle I thought he was just a guy who just didn’t get it, that he didn’t realize that he was being offensive. That is why I messaged him, I didn’t comment out in public. He came back with a verbal punch in the face then I realized he was an ass and knew exactly what he was saying. The good that came out of the event is that he seems to be as quiet as could be now online. I was getting quite tired of seeing his constant advertising on every forum I went on before the whole women/range thing. Love the blog on this event. Take care, best wishes, KZ

  25. He is at it again, seems he slandered another range teacher. I don’t think that is the best way to pick up students.

  26. At this point, who cares about professional when personal integrity and treatment of people should be first and foremost. This man may be able to play trumpet, but one should still be a person of upstanding character that any musician, student, or individual can look upon. There are many of us that have breakt escaped the wrath of the personal demons of this screwed up being that is so wrapped up in promoting himself that he cares nothing for who he uses on the way. I would think twice before spending a dime on this egomaniac!

  27. This is an interesting blog. I found it when I Googled the name of the person who is the subject of this thread. Let’s call him “KT”.

    I’m not sure how I got on KT’s mailing list, but on January 15, I received what was seemed to be a mass e-mailing from him. It seems that KT was searching for a piccolo trumpet, but doesn’t have much money to spend.

    I have a Schilke picc that doesn’t get much use, so I responded with an e-mail stating that I might be willing to trade for another instrument, auto, boat, whatever. He responded by offering his “life changing” program for improving trumpet playing. He set the value of this life changing program at something over $2,000. He explained that he does karate, and that if he was able to spend lots of time with Bruce Lee, there’s no way that his karate wouldn’t improve. He told me that signing up for his course would be (for my trumpet playing) analogous to spending time with Bruce Lee (for karate.)

    Well, I have a very good teacher, so I wasn’t interested. I was kind of busy, so I didn’t get back to him right away.

    Well, this morning (January 23, 2017), I received the following e-mail from KT. (I apologize for the strong language. However, I copied the verbiage directly in from the e-mail.) Here it is:
    “I noticed you kinda shut the fucked up once i sent you the real deal programs.
    I checked you out gary on fb and you are right: you don’t have fuck…nothing regarding playing.
    So, you wasted my time.
    Are you a stupid money grubbing jew bastard? you got all the hallmarks of being one.
    i have removed your penny pinching jew bastard ass from my mailing.
    Don’t contact me in any way shape or form or I will consider it harrassment.

    FUCKTARDS abound all over……”

    Wow – – this guy seems to have a lot of anger built up inside him. I will certainly NOT contact him. Seems obvious that this is someone to steer clear of.

    By the way, it seems to me like KT’s focus is on higher-louder-faster rather than playing evocative music that people want to listen to. Yes, command of the high and low ranges enables us to play a greater variety of music than we would be able to play with a more limited range, but I don’t see high range as an end in itself. I really admire the musicians who can take something that is technically simple and make it sound really beautiful and musical. Melissa Venema is an example of someone who is good at this. (My efforts often result in a sequence of pitches and rhythms that are anything but evocative.) I don’t believe that women generally play better or worse than men do. However, I have yet to see a woman who uses the trumpet to show how manly she is. It’s a musical instrument, not a weapon!

    If KT’s pugilistic style is reflected in his playing, then his music would likely have little appeal to me.

  28. Agreed. But this guy is using real women trumpet players names and photos to promote his fake teaching. They want it stopped. You have any real suggestions on how to stop him?

    • Sorry Sandy McCurdy. I don’t have any practical/legal suggestions for stopping this crazy person.

      It’s kind of like stopping a telemarketer from calling you.

      I suppose that the aggrieved female musician(s) COULD hire a private investigator to locate & identify this person, hire attorneys and pursue him in court. However, at what financial cost? Even if the court ordered this person to pay all the costs of the legal actions, would it be possible to collect anything from him?

      And, this would almost certainly result in having this angry/nutty person upset with the litigant. Who knows – he might end up at her door with a loaded gun.

      He hasn’t done anything to me besides sending a crazy/angry e-mail. I have decided to ignore him and not respond. That pretty much solves my problem. I realize that the female musicians that you mentioned cannot solve their problems so easily. I’m sorry that I do not have any simple solution to that problem.

      It’s possible that Internet posts like this will serve to warn people about this guy. If, consequently, no one pays for his wonderful trumpet lessons, maybe he will just go away. I hope that’s what happens.

  29. I just learned about this guy, Kurt Thompson. It’s sickening! J. T. is correct in saying DO NOT ENGAGE. He will eventually go the way of the Pet Rock

  30. Get a life! You only see reflections of yourself in other people!! Look at yourself!!

  31. I am so glad to have found this post and thread, to know that I’m not alone in wondering what-the-heck…with this person. I recently posted, on my LinkdIn site, an article of my research on female brass players that has been just published. This alleged trumpet player/teacher used my posting to promote his allegedly unique pedagogy on high notes. I removed the post, and I removed him from my contacts. ooooopsie, ticked him off, so he just tweeted that “Another University Professor – this time a female horn player who DOESN’T PLAY! HERE IS HER LIMP ATTEMPT AT BOLSTERING FEMALE BRASS PLAYING by a severely flawed report and biased accounting from variously jilted and scorned female brass players.”
    Ahem…I do actually play horn as an active freelancer; and a careful read of the article reveals that this is not only a preliminary report of a selected section of data, but that the results show that gender equity/parity is not a simplistic either-or issue but in fact a very complex thing. My research partner and I took great effort to include statements from female brass players who experienced no problems or who benefited from male teachers and colleagues.
    All of this nuanced thinking, and this thoughtful discussion on your thread here, is likely beyond this angry person. So, thank you, everyone, for sharing your thoughts here, it really helped me today.

  32. After I read his nasty comments about Doc Reinhardt I wrote to him, refuting every point as either wrong or just simply untrue….but I did it in a nice way……….he never responded. He is truly a dickhead.

    • Agreed!!!!

  33. I’ve studied with professors and teachers from all levels. I would rather be irritated with Kurt and increase my range than have him be sweet and my range remain the same. Twice he has demonstrated new ideas that increased my range from high D to double A and beyond. Not original to him by no means but no one was talking but him. I never paid him a dime. I’ve never taken a full course. What I got was free! Trumpet players especially Lead players are egotistical and they think they know it all. Some have God given talent. Others have to learn the mechanics of their own face. I also learned from other players online as well. But Kurt got my attention and taught me 2 range changing lessons. He said ” You know why you can’t play high? Because you don’t know how.!” He was arrogant, rude, and most of all he was right! He got my attention. I listened and learned. Currently I’m learning from Dr. Dave Harrison (medical Dr) about the mechanics of Wedge mouthpieces. I got my 1st Wedge in today. The new design works. Thanks Nick Drozdoff for confirming wedge tops fit on a Warburton KT backbore. Credentials are important but the proof is in the pudding.

  34. Thanks for this well conceived post. Everything you mention makes perfect sense.

    Now, you mentioned a cookie…..when might that be forthcoming?

  35. Joey,
    Thanks for this post, although I realize it is from 6 years ago. I found it by Googling the person you are referring to. I made the mistake of replying to one of his videos on YouTube. I was giving my defense of Jeff Smiley’s BE. He is very defensive to say the least. I’m just a retired band director that used BE personally and with my students, with great results. I’ll not be replying to Mr KT again. Thanks again for your observations.
    Billy Marquis

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